Sunday, February 13, 2011

Meet Boushka, proud owner of author Mary Sharatt

Woof! Welcome my special guest, Boushka! This Welsh mare lives with Mary Sharatt, author of the fascinating novel, Daughters of the Witching Hill. If you love witch stories based on real historical stuff, then this is the book for you! Be sure to check out Mary's website, as well as her Facebook page.

So tell us, Boushka, how in the world did you end up with an American author living in Lancashire, England?

I was born in Wales, the greatest place in the world and sacred homeland to all Welsh ponies and cobs, but I changed owners several times, living in Yorkshire and then in Lancashire where I did pony club stuff with teenagers. A girl has to get around, you know?

Then I moved to Pendle Forest in Lancashire where I acquired Mary who was most certainly not a teenager. When I first met her, she was writing her novel, DAUGHTERS OF THE WITCHING HILL, about the Pendle Witches of 1612, so she rode me all around Pendle Forest as part of her research. Mary and I have a lot of fun adventures together. We even did a three day, long distance ride last summer, the Mary Towneley Loop, where I took Mary up and down old packhorse trails, across moors, through fields of cows who were altogether too inquisitive, and into forgotten valleys. Mary knows I’m happiest when we do long hacks and that nothing is more fun than having a good canter across a field or exploring a new trail through the woods. I am naturally curious and must investigate everything. And I’m not afraid of cows. I’m the boss of them and they know it. Don’t mess with Welsh mares!

What's with the name? Sounds Russian spy to me.

My show name is Glynnedd Caramel. One of my teenagers that I owned before Mary named me Boushka, short for Babushka, after the Kate Bush song. I think it’s a little silly since Babushka means grandmother and there’s nothing grandmotherly about me! But they say it’s unlucky to change a horse’s name, so I’m still Boushka, although I’m secretly training Mary to call me Queen Boudicca instead. If the Roman legions invaded the mares’ field, I would totally demolish them, as I am descended from great Celtic warrior queens.

Wow. I'm impressed. I understand you have a bigger wardrobe with more accessories than Mary. How did this happen?

When I first acquired Mary, I came with a whole wardrobe and set of accessories thanks to the teenager I owned before Mary. This included my beloved pink feed bucket and hay net. Of course, Mary has added to the collection so I now have five different field rugs, two stable rugs, a fly rug, a fleece cooler, countless saddle cloths, travel boots, brushing boots, two head collars and lead ropes, not to mention my Santa outfit for Christmas, which features reindeer antlers that flop around my ears and furry boots to wear on my hind legs. For Midsummer, Mary usually braids real roses in my mane, tale, and forelock. I can’t help it I’m so gorgeous!

Are there any drawbacks to owning Mary? Don't hold back now. Time to spill the beans.

Sometimes she gets a little carried away with the whole Pendle Witch theme. For Halloween, she dresses me up in a purple witch hat and hacks me out while carrying a kid’s purple glitter broom. I humour her, because I am awesome. Last year the horse behind us tried to eat the straw on the broom, which was rather amusing.

I think putting costumes on pets is humiliating. I lived the experience one Christmas, when my human tried to make me look like Santa. First and last.

Anyway, I heard Mary’s novel, DAUGHTERS OF THE WITCHING HILL, is now out in paperback. Tell us more about it!

If you’re a Welsh mare who loves reading about strong women, this is the book for you. Daughters of the Witching Hill brings history to life in a vivid and wrenching account of a family caught up in the Pendle Witch trials of 1612.

Bess Southerns, an impoverished widow living in Pendle Forest, is haunted by visions and gains a reputation as a cunning woman. Drawing on the Catholic folk magic of her youth, Bess heals the sick and foretells the future. As she ages, she instructs her granddaughter, Alizon, in her craft, as well as her best friend, who ultimately turns to dark magic. When a peddler suffers a stroke after exchanging harsh words with Alizon, a local magistrate, eager to make his name as a witch finder, plays neighbors and family members against one another until suspicion and paranoia reach frenzied heights.

Mary interweaves well-researched historical details with a beautifully imagined story of strong women, family, and betrayal. Daughters of the Witching Hill is a powerful novel of intrigue and revelation.

The book has received many glowing reviews. I hope lots of people go out and buy it so Mary can get me some more pony treats and accessories! I would like a new fly rug this summer.

You seem to like accessories quite a bit. Tell your human to get you a set of Fancy Nancy books. But before I forget... Is it true you appear in Mary's book?

Yes, I make a special cameo appearance as accused witch Alice Nutter’s horse.

Wow! So, what is Mary working on now?

Her new book, tentatively titled SIBYL OF THE RHINE, is based on the dramatic life of Hildegard von Bingen, the 12th century German visionary abbess, composer, theologian, and polymath. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt will publish the book in Spring 2012. I’m really excited about Mary’s new novel, but I hope she doesn’t get any funny ideas about dressing me up to look like a 12th century Benedictine nun!

You're scaring me! I hope my human won't read this interview. She might get some insane ideas.

Where can we learn more about Mary, her books, and the true history of the Pendle Witches?

Be sure to visit her website ( and watch her six minute docudrama about the Pendle Witches, shot live on location around Pendle Hill. I, of course, appear in all my glory and am the star of the whole video. I can’t tell you how many takes we had to do to get the camera angles just right! (

Also, you can follow my adventures with Mary on Facebook where there are many pictures of me in all my Welsh magnificence!

Woof! Woof!


  1. Fabulous interview and great details about the book.Thanks for sharing. Here is to great accessories and no ridiculous costumes for both of you.


  2. Wow! It's not every day you meet a horse. :) Hopefully my dog Brin and cat Asimov can stop by when I get published. Then again, maybe not... They probably have some tales to tell!

  3. I am so happy to meet you, Boushka. You're beautiful. I think you also own more accessories than I do.

    Mary's book sounds wonderful. I might have to pick it up so I can read your cameo. I'll keep my fingers crossed that she doesn't dress you up like a nun. I'm not sure black is your color.


  4. Interesting approach. I'm afraid to think what my cat would say about me. LOL!

  5. Miss Boo in, typing from my human's computer. (Actually I have trained my human minion to take dictation for me, lol.)

    Thanks so much for the great interview, Amigo. You sound like a great dog, unlike that evil Ninja Corgi who likes to leap out at me and bite my heels. He is very dastardly and evil!

    Thank you, nice humans, for your wonderful comments. I send you lots of pink-nosed snuffles and kisses for Valentine's Day!

    Mary didn't dress me up today, just gave me lots of kisses and treats. I think she is learning . . .

  6. What a lovely interview! It is wonderful to meet you, Boushka!

    This sounds like such a wonderful book!!!! I will have to get my hands on a copy!

  7. Boushka, you are such a patient dear to put up with the whole costume thing. My humans tried to put a Santa hat on me but of course that didn't last. And then they insisted on making me wear a Ravens jersey during every home game. When they washed it, it shrunk (I certainly didn't grow around the middle) and it didn't fit. They made me wear it like a cape. It was humiliating. But I did get some chips and hot wings out of the deal.
    ---Shannon the Dog (who hijacked one of her human's computer passwords)

  8. just trying to imagine a horse in a witch hat! Thanks so much for this interview! Well done!

  9. Boushka back in. You guys are the greatest! I want to give you all gentle snuffles and pony kisses!

  10. Boushka in again. My human is taking dictation from me.

    Here are some pictures of me in my different outfits. There are also some pictures of Mary and my dad and grandmother and cows and sheep and pony friends. But the pictures of me are the best, hee hee hee. I took my human for a ride today and protected her from all the monsters in the woods that only I can see!!/photo.php?fbid=115136582792&set=a.115136577792.102932.695382792&theater

  11. Boushka: I've never known a horse before, which is why I bark at the neighbor's horse next door every time she wanders into the upper pasture (I watch her from the living room window).

    My mom has been telling me all along that's she's entitled to be over there and now, listening to you, maybe I'll have to rethink my theory about horses invading our privacy.

    I've gotta tell you though: if she wears any purple hats or carries any brooms all bets are off.

    (Good luck to your human with her books. It's neat being fictionalized, isn't it?)

    Charlotte (Delaney's sister and co-owner of mom)

  12. I'd love to see all those fancy accessories. And the Halloween costume! Sounds like fun. And thanks for telling us about the books too.

  13. If only pets could talk, better not!

    Oh, and it would be remiss of me not to say Happy Presidents Pets Day - the day after Presidents Day, as I like to call it. In the US, we love our presidents..... pets. See my blog if you’re in the mood for a good ol' irreverent howl.

  14. You have a blog award!

  15. new follower from MBC
    Feel free to check out my blog and follow back ^^

  16. I love this idea for a blog! Very cool!
    I am a new follower from MBC. hope to see you soon.

  17. Thanks for sharing your link on MBCß I am now a follower :)

  18. Just came across this blog,and as an ardent Welsh animal lover(exiled to England at the moment) I just naturally had to respond to this particular post.

    I'm owned by a variety of beloved furbabies - two horses, a rescued Jack Russell and two 'ferel' but very tame stable cats. The horses are Harri, a purbred black Welsh Section D, T'pau, a 'paint' Quarter Horse/Welsh cross 'with attitude' and Bouncer and Milly and Molly are the resident 'mouseworkers'.

    You can see them all here if you'd like to!/album.php?id=633101662&aid=109844

    (Thanks for the tip, hadn't thought of showing off pictures via facebook before!)

    We've converted to the Western way of riding,which is cery comfortable and relaxed, and T'pau enjoys doing Monty Roberts exercises, makes her concentrate really hard.

    Boushka, you are very beautiful, and a lot more tolerent than T'pau, who would never let me dress her up, although Harri probably would, but he'd blush if I put roses in his mane!

  19. Ooh, forgot to say, I couldn't agree more about Wales being 'the greatest place in the world. I lived there until my marriage and miss it dreadfully I live in Ceredigion (Cardiganshire) renowned for its Welsh Cobs, including the famous Llanarth Braint, and had a wonderful time doing long distance 'endurance' rides in the mountains.